BY: ELIJAH BASSETT
2017 is the year of Canada’s 150th birthday, but this year it’s the citizens who’ll be getting a gift, in the form of a massive trail that passes through every province and territory in the country. After 25 years of work, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation will finally be unveiling The Great Trail this fall, and it will be a great chance for Canadians to explore their country’s nature, whether they’re hiking, skiing, cycling, canoeing, or even just taking pictures.
The trail will be free for anyone to visit, and this year it will line up well with another gift to Canadian citizens, which is free passes to all national parks. Even without that, this new trail will be very accessible to the majority of Canadians, with 80% of Canadians living within half an hour’s distance of some part of the trail.
Because it’s so close to so many Canadians, the trail will be able to unite them in nature, even when they’re at a distance from one another. Valerie Pringle, a member of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, says that’s her favourite thing about the trail. Even though its vast length of almost 24,000 kilometres means that we won’t all see each other out there, it will still connect everybody who visits it in a physical but intangible way.
With or without seeing fellow Canadians, the Canadian landscape is beautiful enough that it will be worth the visit whether you’ve lived in the country for your whole life or you’re just visiting. If the idea of tackling one of the longest trails in the world sounds a bit daunting to you, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation has also made an app to help you find your bearings. There’s only so much a phone app can help, though, and given that it would take over two years hiking thirty kilometres a day to complete the whole trail, we would advise that you be sure to set a goal within your own limits.